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In January 2017, artist Louise Ashcroft invited herself to be an artist in residency at Westfield Shopping Centre. That’s the mega mall in Stratford, East London. Because there’s nothing remotely boring, mass manufactured nor glittery about her work (and also because she is quietly plotting the demise of capitalism), Ashcroft spent her time there undercover, pretending she was only looking for a bit of shopping fun

The newly commissioned works investigate repetition through works as diverse as an improvised performance based on the sounds of war, the exploration of the traces left by an UFO seen over the village of Bir-Nabala, a patchwork blanket that is knitted and then unravelled in echo of the Palestinian-Syrian refugees who have to rebuild their life with each displacement, the reviving of an archival photo of a 1970s Palestinian female fighter through various moments in the history of post-Nakba Palestinian art, etc.

The main exhibition space presents objects and evidence collected from 24 real-life case files. Some of them relate to the capital’s most notorious crimes. From the Great Train Robbery to the Kray twins. Other cases earned their place in the show because of the important role they’ve played in the the development of forensics, because they’ve changed the law or because of the impact they had on society

The exhibition presents eleven case studies spanning the period from the invention of ‘metric’ photography of crime scenes in the 19th century to the reconstruction of a drone attack in Pakistan in 2012 using digital and satellite technologies. These offer an analysis of the historical and geopolitical contexts in which the images appeared, as well as their purpose, production process and dissemination

A few days ago i popped by the The World Press Photo exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall in London. It’s a show i always look forward to visiting. The quality of the prints is often ridiculously low but the photos that win the photojournalism competition give me some time to reflect on the stories that made the news over these past few months but also to discovered under-discussed cultural or political issues

The exhibition is what you would call a crowd-pleaser (although the £15.00 entrance ticket is definitely not crowd-pleasing.) Which in conservative art speak is a bit of an insult. It shouldn’t be. Because art doesn’t need more snobs and because if gigantic slides, bouncy Stonehenge and rain rooms are what it takes to get everyone to experience and discuss contemporary art, that’s good enough for me

Two of the presentations i enjoyed covered the representation of intelligence agencies in films and tv fiction, another was about the influence that new forms of surveillance are having on the rise of home-grown (‘home’ being the U.S.A., the symposium was organised by the Institute of North American Studies) white extremist groups. And a fourth talk commented on the delusory quest to control State information

Objection!!! pushes the court strategies and dramatizations to their most cinematographic limits. Using a series of models, objects, images and a fictionalized case in which a tv National Lottery draw is fixed, Gaynor exposes how the language of film-making manipulates the way a case is presented to the court and how it is understood by it. According to the whim of the team that scripts, shoots then edit the trial, the unfolding of a court case could be made to look comical, suspenseful, romantic, tragic or even satirical

Photographs taken seven months after the fire bombing of Dresden are shown alongside those taken seven months after the end of the First Gulf War. Images made in Vietnam 25 years after the fall of Saigon are shown alongside those made in Nakasaki 25 years after the atomic bomb. The result is the chance to make never-before-made connections while viewing the legacy of war as artists and photographers have captured it in retrospect

After The Flash: Photography from the Atomic Archive explores the intertwined histories of photography and nuclear technologies, and the camera’s role in constructing the public image of atomic energy and ‘the bomb’. The exhibition contrasts the ‘technological sublime’ that dominates much nuclear-themed photography-from mushroom clouds to cooling towers-with representations of personal encounters and experiences, tracing the hazy lines between spectacle and humanitarian documentation

The most banal-looking wooden frame takes a life of its own as soon as you come near it. It quickly positions itself in front of you, spots your eyes and starts expressing ’emotions’ based on your own. Eye Catcher uses the arm of an industrial robot, high power magnets, a hidden pinhole camera, ferrofluid and emotion recognition algorithms to explore novel interactive interfaces based on the mimicry and exchange of expressions

Concentrating on the work of 18 leading photographers from the last 80 years, the exhibition begins in 1935 with Berenice Abbott, who captured New York’s transformation into modern metropolis. From there, it journeys through affluent California in the 1940s, India’s independence in the 50s, the decline of industrial Europe in the 60s and 70s and culminates in an exploration of the contemporary urban experience

Can we continue to exist within an infrastructure that seeks to not only resist, but nullify natural forces? How might we approach increasingly fragile sites in a way that challenges the inherited attitude of conquering nature as though it were an opponent? Can the temporary spaces that occur naturally in the environment provide us with a new way in which design can operate?

Pr. Peter Ameisenhaufen gained fame in the first half of the 20th century for his controversial research on rare animals. Many of his colleagues refused to believe these creatures were real but Ameisenhaufen spent decades collecting evidences of their existence. The archives uncovered in the late 1980s by Fontcuberta were surprisingly rich and well detailed: photos, field notes, dissections drawing, audio clips documenting the calls and other sounds of these truly exceptional animals. Several specimens were even remarkably preserved by taxidermy

The jars are filled with all kinds of deformed and diseased body parts: a gout-swollen hand, an inguinal hernia from around 1750, the bound foot of a Chinese woman, the skeletons of conjoined twins, a liver dented by years of wearing tight corsets, a brain perforated with an ice pick during a frontal lobotomy, a rat that died of tuberculosis, a cabinet of surprisingly voluminous objects that people inserted into their bodies (more about that one in the video below), etc

On display are arts of rebellion from around the world that illuminate the role of making in grassroots movements for social change: finely woven banners; defaced currency; changing designs for barricades and blockades; political video games; an inflatable general assembly to facilitate consensus decision-making; experimental activist-bicycles; and textiles bearing witness to political murders